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RELEAS Hand Splint Therapy

The RELEAS, an innovative device developed at Jefferson Moss-Magee Rehabilitation, helps restore hand function. It is designed for people who have some arm and elbow motion and can close their hand, but are unable to open that hand due to spasticity or muscle weakness caused by:

  • stroke
  • traumatic head injury
  • cerebral palsy
  • specific peripheral nerve injury 

A therapeutic splint, the RELEAS enables individuals to use their impaired hand to functionally grasp, hold and release. It has been shown to improve the ability to functionally use the impaired hand to perform tasks and activities they were unable to include that hand in before. These tasks include:

  • open packets for salt and pepper, straws, and band aids
  • hold wallets and purses while removing bills, coins and credit cards
  • stabilize a bowl when mixing
  • hold and fold paper
  • open and remove letters from an envelope
  • hold a broom while sweeping
  • hold and pinch gift paper and tape for wrapping presents
  • hold and pull up pants and underpants
  • tie shoes
  • fold laundry
  • carry a basket or grocery bag with handle
  • hold a nail while using a hammer


Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the RELEAS:

Who can benefit from the RELEAS?

The RELEAS is designed for individuals who have some arm and elbow motion and can close their hand, but are unable to open that hand due to spasticity or muscle weakness. This includes those who are affected by:

  • stroke
  • traumatic head injury
  • cerebral palsy
  • specific peripheral nerve injury

How does the RELEAS work?

The RELEAS is a dynamic splint that fits over an affected hand’s index finger, long fingers and thumb. It uses a spring-loaded outrigger, or bar, that opens the first two fingers while an elastic glove opens the thumb. Users can then apply their own grip strength to close the hand to hold an object. Once an object is stabilized with the affected hand, the individual can use his or her unimpaired hand to perform manipulation components of a given task. For example, the user can hold a jar with their affected hand and twist the top off with their other, functional hand. Once the task is completed, the user can relax their affected hand, allowing tensions in the glove and outrigger to open the hand and release the object.

What is the RELEAS made of and how do these components assist the user? 

The RELEAS has an adjustable neoprene glove that wraps around the hand and supports the thumb. The elasticity of the neoprene helps open the thumb with a graded amount of resistance. A spring-loaded metal outrigger, or lever arm, extends from a base plate to the back of the hand. Two fabric buddy splints wrap around the index and long finger and attach to the lever arm. The RELEAS user closes their affected hand by flexing the thumb, index and long fingers. When the user later relaxes this hand, resistance from the thumb support and the lever arm re-open the hand. Specific training helps users learn how to use this modified from of grasp and release for many activities of daily living.

Who developed the RELEAS?
RELEAS was invented by Joseph Padova, an occupational therapist at Jefferson. Padvova developed his concept based on his experiences over the years working with neurologically impaired individuals and upper limb amputees who were trained to use prosthetics, as well as numerous discussions about neurologic upper limb rehabilitation approaches with physicians, occupational and physical therapists at Jefferson.

Is the RELEAS patented? 
Yes. The RELEAS was patented by the Einstein Network through funding from the Einstein Intellectual Property Committee.

How can I buy the RELEAS?
The RELEAS is being marketed by Tiburon Medical Enterprises, Inc., a manufacturer of orthotic and prosthetic products and supplies.

Will there be additional research done with RELEAS?
Yes. Currently the Albert Einstein Society has funded a research grant to examine the splint’s use for stroke patients. This is a pilot study that is nearing completion. Plans for a retrospective study on how the RELEAS worked following intensive training of past patients is being designed. Research on who can benefit from the splint is expected to be ongoing.

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